Wenger Praises Wilshere’s Character
Arsene Wenger praised Jack Wilshere’s character after the Arsenal midfielder scored the club’s only goal in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom at the Hawthorns.
Wilshere, 21, erased Claudio Yacob’s opening goal in the second half despite struggling to find his rhythm and being the target of some heavy tackling from the Baggies.
Impressed by the never-say-die attitude of the midfielder, Wenger told Sky Sports: “He had trouble today to find the rhythm of the game. But he has character as well. He doesn’t give up, he continues to play his game and got a great goal. I believe he was fouled a few times, pushed over and didn’t get the fouls he deserved.”
About the game itself, the Frenchman added: “Over the whole game, I think it’s a fair point. Over the last half-an-hour, I have some regrets, because we could feel we had the opportunities to score a second goal. We again have shown character to come back into this game and in the second half being a goal down to equalise.”
Flamini Gets Wenger’s Love Too
Arsene Wenger has heaped praise on Mathieu Flamini, saying that the tenacious midfielder give his side the extra bit of defensive stability that could prove crucial to the club’s success this season.
While the Gunners boss stopped short of labelling him his most important signing ever, he did make it clear that the 29-year-old is an indispensable part of his first-team.
Wenger said: “Flamini has given us a balance between attacking and defending. He is someone who accepts the dark role in the team. Sometimes before in big games we looked frail defensively, and he gives us more in that sense. I don’t know if he will turn out to be one of the most important signings I have ever made, but I think it was an important signing.
“I had hesitations about it, I must tell you. He left us and players who leave do not necessarily come back. But what is most important is what is right for the club. When I saw him in training I saw he could give us something the team needs. He is 29 now and you know better at that age who you are as a player.
“When he first arrived here he wanted to play in a more offensive role, but today he knows his qualities and accepts them. His attitude to join us convinced me because he had other proposals as well. Once he decided to wait on us to see if he could sign here, you think there is something special.”
Good Times A’ Comin’ – Szczesny
Wojciech Szczesny has expressed his pleasure at reports that Arsene Wenger is set to open talks with Arsenal to extend his current deal, which is set to expire at the end of the ongoing season. (The Daily Star)
It’s believed that the Gunners are readying a three-year £24million contract for their incumbent manager , and Szczesny believes securing the Frenchman’s future is very crucial for the players too.
“It is important for us to know our manager is staying,” the 23-year-old goalie said. “There are players here who have had ups and downs and he has shown trust – and we are trying to repay that. That is very important – the stability of the club and the trust we have in our manager. We have been together for a long time and we know each other – on and off the pitch. It always helps.”
Wenger dropped Szczeesny last summer after a series of erratic displays, but instead of being bitter, the Pole says it taught him a valuable lesson.
He recalled “It was obviously tough but a very good lesson for me – one I really needed at the time. I felt more pressure, more desire to give it an extra ten per cent in training, to turn up early and show the boss I deserved to be back in goal. And that extra ten per cent made all the difference. When, as a manager, you have been in the job for a long time you know what to do. So I have learned from it, come back stronger and now I’m feeling good.”
Arsenal signed Emiliano Viviano on loan in the summer, which means that Szczesny now has competition from the Italian as well as his own compatriot Lukasz Fabianski. However, he isn’t worried about losing his place this time.
“I have pressure from two fantastic keepers,” he said. “They try their hardest in training and keep me on my toes. I feel pressure at all times but am I worried about anyone else coming in? Not really.”
About the club’s fantastic start to the new season, he added: “We are enjoying our football. We can’t wait for each game. We are very confident and know we can take on anyone. We were confident at the start of the season even though the first game did not go our way.
“Ozil has given us a lift but let’s not forget we won four games before he arrived. He’s improved the squad but we should not pick out one player as the whole team has been consistent and very good. Mathieu has really been doing the dirty work. We know it is important that we keep the run going. If we keep focused for a long time we will be in a stronger position. We want to win every game.”
Benzema Free to Leave in January – Report
Arsenal FC transfer target Karim Benzema has purportedly been told by Real Madrid that he is free to leave the club in January.
The claim has been made in a report published by the Sunday People, according to whom, Benzema’s relationship with Madrid fans and Spanish press has plummeted so much that Los Blancos have decided to let him go. His agent has been communicated the club’s wishes.
The Gunners tried to sign Benzema in the summer, but their attempts to do so were rejected by the player himself. If they decide to go back for him again then they are likely to face competition from Manchester United and Chelsea.
Real Madrid are expected to demand at least £17million for the France international.